The TNT NBA analyst told reporters Friday during a conference call for the American Century Championship golf tournament that he won’t root for any “superteams” referring to the Nets star-studded roster of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden.
“KD is a great player, and I think he’s a great kid,” Barkley said, via Sports Illustrated. “I don’t know him that well, but I’m not a fan of superteams. So listen, if they win it, they win it, but to be perfectly clear, I’m rooting against those guys. I root against all superteams.
Barkley, who was an 11-time NBA All Star and star player for the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns, said not winning a championship never defined his career but he acknowledged that that mindset has now changed.
“If I’d known you guys were going to make fun of me for not winning a championship, I would have joined a superteam back in my day—me and Patrick [Ewing] and Karl Malone and John Stockton. But I feel good about my legacy. I’m pretty sure Patrick and John and Karl do, too. LeBron [James] started this superteam thing [in Miami], and hey, it’s the way the game is played now.”
But don’t interpret his comments as a fit of jealousy. Barkley argued that the creation of “superteams” hurt the game and it’s a product of young players believing that only a championship could legitimize their career.
“When Kawhi [Leonard] left Toronto—other than Chicago, that’s my favorite city in the world, [but] I’m never going there again,” he said. “When LeBron left Cleveland, I’m never going there again. When James [Harden] left Houston, I’m never going to Houston again. Same thing when LeBron left Miami. Oklahoma City, once KD left, we’re never going back there again. And I don’t think that’s good for the game.”
“To go back to my day, even though we didn’t win the championship, the Sixers were worth watching. The Knicks were worth watching … I just don’t think it’s good for business, but these young kids, they all fold to peer pressure and feel like they’ve got to win a championship or their life sucks. I don’t believe that. Listen, there’s not many people I’d trade my life with,” he added.
Barkley will no doubt be rooting for the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday as they try to even the series with the Nets in Game 4.